This blog is a personal take on Listowel, Co. Kerry. I am writing for anyone anywhere with a Listowel connection but especially for sons and daughters of Listowel who find themselves far from home. Contact me at

Tag: Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann Page 1 of 2

Ballybunion, Pres. Basketball and 1970 Fleadh Committee

Illumination by Michael O’Connor


From an Old Pres. Album

I can see a few faces I definitely know. Please help me to name them all.


Poem from a Local Poet


Concluding the Bryan MacMahon article from Shannonside Annual 1956


Fleadh Cheoil Committee 1970

Betty Stack has given us all the names for this old photo. Thank you, Betty.

Front Row: Mairead Walsh, Eamon Hartnett, Jackie Walsh, Michael Dowling, Geraldine Hartnett, Joan Curtin, Maria O’Gorman
Middle Row:
Pat McAuliffe, Michael Stack, T. Dillon, Maureen Nolan, Betty Stack, Patricia Cronin, Helen Leahy, Peggy Gleeson, Patsy Kennedy, Jack Molyneaux, Christy Stack
Back Row: Ben Landy, PJ Kirby, ? , Mossie Molyneaux, Timmy Brosnan, Sean Broderick, Ian Nugent, Paul Nolan, Vincent O’Sullivan, Joe Gleeson, Peter O’Sullivan


Butler Centre, Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, Cork Badminton and More St. Patrick’s Day Photos

Roofing work in progress at The Butler Centre


Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Listowel in the 70s

Photos Junior Griffin

The first time Listowel was proposed as a venue for  the fleadh local traders became a bit apprehensive. It was obviously going to bring huge crowds to town and lots of business, but people feared that the pubs (there were over 50) might not be able to cope. There might be drinking in the streets, drunkenness and antisocial behaviour of all sorts. Some people boarded up their  premises and took the precaution of employing security.

None of these measures were necessary. The fleadh crowd were really well behaved. The music, song and dancing in the competition venues and on the streets provided excellent entertainment for all and sundry. Business in pubs and shops brought in an early harvest for business people.

A rising tide lifts all boats. Everyone in town seemed to profit from the fleadh and Listowel was delighted to welcome the festival back again and again.


They’re Celebrating at Harnett’s


Cork Badminton with  Listowel Connection

Third from left is Caroline Kenny, formerly of Listowel, holding the cup she won with her Mallow team in the Cork County badminton championship.


March 17th 2019

Some of my Cork based family came to The Kingdom for the Patron saint’s weekend.

Molly came too. She is now a little older but only a tad wiser. She brought her own throne from which she liked to view the world.

 Kay’s Children’s Shop was just one of the many who decorated their windows as Gaeilge.

These vintage vehicles were also on parade.

An August 2015 Thursday in John B.’s and another win for Sonny Bill

Pub Theatre in John B.’s

My father died when I was seven. My mother wore no colour but black for a full year. The radio was only turned on to hear the news and weather forecast. We had no television. There was no music in the house. We went to town only for shopping once a week and to go to mass on Sundays. Laughter and shouting or halooing was discouraged. Anything by way of enjoyment was absent from our lives for a long 12 months.

Thank God things have changed and we now know that keeping the lost loved one’s spirit alive and present to us is much more healthy than constantly reminding ourselves of an absence. We are now encouraged to remember the loved one and to live, laugh and enjoy ourselves as normal.

In the week of his mother’s death, Billy Keane put on the “shop face” and “hoored it out” as best he could on Thursday night last. Thursday night is pub theatre night in John B.s. Billy banned any sad talk but inevitably the night was tinged with sorrow for the lady of the house.

I was there on Thursday evening with Fran Blyth and her family. Fran is the great granddaughter of the poet Thade Gouran.  Michael, Alexis and Sean are his great great grandchildren. They had come from England to connect with the homeland of their ancestors and to sample life in North Kerry.

 They were all thrilled to pose with Billy and even more thrilled when he recited The Yorkshire Pig, one of Thade Gowran’s better known works.

Billy brought a chair from the kitchen and placed it in the bar and asked us to leave it free for “someone” who would be with us in spirit tonight. She was with us alright and we all felt her gentle soul was still close to home.

Mickey MacConnell opened the night with his new version of the Ballad of John B. He has tweaked his original lament for John B. to now include Mary.

Billy read a lovely love poem his dad wrote for his mam in the first flush of their young love.

Fran was delighted to learn that Gabriel Fitzmaurice, who was in to read some of his poems, has a Thade Gowran ballad, The Dawning of the Day, in this repertoire. If he had had his guitar he would have sung it.

David O’Sullivan was a convincing bishop. In an extract from The Field he exhorted us, under threat of interdict, to reveal to the police everything we knew about the murder. By the end of the sermon we were all ready to sing like canaries.

Claire Keane Fennell sang Kielty and later Over the Rainbow.

The English visitors were enthralled.

Another Keane was making his own record of the proceedings.

Billy’s good friend, Con, sang his song accompanied by Mickey MacConnell. 

We all joined hands and sang the John B. Keane anthem, The Black Hills of Dakota.

Billy gave a big build up to another young man who sang a different anthem.

Billy did his best to remember the words of Thade Gowran’s Yorkshire Pig as he introduced Thade’s great great grandson to sing the anthem from Les Miserables.

Sean’s singing coupled with his boy band good looks won him quite a few fans on the night.

My video of Sean singing is HERE The quality of the video is fairly poor. The quality of the singing was never in doubt.


Framed Posters in Behans


A Kerry Football Cup in Pittsburg

The U.S. Midwest division of the GAA had a great stalwart in Tom O’Donoghue of Listowel. They honored his many years of dedicated service in the promotion of Gaelic Games in Pittsburg by awarding the Tom O’Donoghue Memorial Cup to the winners of the Midwest Division Football Championship. The cup was played for on Aug 8th and 9th. 2015 and Tom’s eldest son, Thomas, presented the cup to the winners


R.I.P. Robert Moloney


Sonny Bill’s latest triumph

First in his class and reserve champion at Limerick Show on Sunday last…..Good Boy, Sonny Bill!

Irish College 2015 style, some ads and memories of a fleadh cheoil long ago.

Coláiste Bhréanainn, Baile an Buineánaigh

All’s changed, changed utterly from the Irish college experience of old. There are still claisceadail and ceilithe but now the young people get to go surfing, Tae kwando, zumba, limbo, crazy golf and a historical tour of Ballybunion. Judging by Coláiste Bhréanainn’s Facebook page learning Irish has never before been such fun.


New Playground in Fitzgerald’s Park, Cork

Well worth a visit if you are lucky enough to spend some time in the real capital of Ireland.


Listowel businesses in 1960


More of Betty Stack’s old cuttings

This picture accompanied a story about Listowel’s introducing a Seachtain Cheoil in the week of Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann. The idea was taken on board and is now an integral part of the Fleadh. In the photo are Muriel Dowling, Geraldine Dowling and Gerard Buckley.


Lovely Day for a Wedding


+ Tragic Death of Benny Collins +

“The death has taken place of Benny Collins, son of Mary Ellen and Denis Collins, Templeathea.  He was living in Swansea, Wales and died on the 28th of July 2015. Survived by his wife Mel, son Harry, parents and brothers Denis, John, and Leo, sisters Catherine and Helena.”

The story behind the news 

“A brave dad drowned while saving his son after he was caught in a rip tide at a holiday beach.

Physiotherapist Benny managed to save Harry, nine, from drowning at popular beach – which has no lifeguard cover.

But he was pronounced dead following the seaside tragedy at Three Cliffs Bay in Gower, South Wales on Tuesday.

Irish-born Benny had been the captain of Gowerton rugby club in his home city of Swansea, South Wales.

The team played tribute to their former player.

A spokesman said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of our former captain Benny Collins.

“A true gent in every sense, will be missed by all.”

The dad and son were pulled from the sea by fellow-swimmers at on Tuesday afternoon and flown to hospital.

Benny was pronounced dead while Harry was treated at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, where his father worked, and was later released.

Benny’s friend John Knox paid tribute to him, saying: “A wonderful husband and father. Benny Collins will be with the angels.”

Another friend, Chris Mason, said: “Devastating news about Benny Collins. Loved playing with him for Gowerton RFC, such a great bloke will be missed by so many people.”

His wife Melanie, 42, was being supported by specially trained police officers.

Brave Benny is the latest fatality at the beach which is part of the Gower Peninsula – designated as the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

(Irish Mirror online)

A Tiger in Ballybunion, Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Listowel and some old ads

Taming the Ballybunion Tiger



Jason of Ballybunion Prints took this lovely picture of a hen rearing some ducklings. He is also responsible for the tiger on the beach images.


A Garden in Dubai

If you love flowers you’ll love these photos from Maura Brennan Esmond. The garden is in the Dubai Desert and is watered by an intricate underground system of water recycling.


Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann

Fleadh fever 2015 is gripping Sligo but Betty Stack remembers  1976 and 1987 when it was Listowel’s turn.

 This is Betty’s photo of the campsite in The Town Park in 1987.

Fleadh Committee 1976

Front: Michael Dowling, Donal Cantillon, –McCarron,
Bernadine Gleeson, Christy Walsh, Seamus Stack,—- Garry Stack.

Second Row; John Gleeson, —–, Peggy Gleeson, Joan Curtin,
Anne Kennedy, Maureen O’Donnell, Josie Molyneaux, Betty Stack.

Third Row: Christy Stack, Mary Broderick, Michael Stack,
Peggy Cantillon, Mairead Walsh, Donal O’Sullivan, Sean Broderick, Mossy
Molyneaux, Jackie Walsh and Breda O’Mahoney

Back Row; Michael
O’Connell, Joe Gleeson,—–O’Donnell, John Joe O’Donnell, Timmy Brosnan, John
Joe Hartnett, Michael, McCarron, Betty Kirby and Jerry Keane.

(photos and names : Betty Stack)


Don’t Forget! If you have any connection with Clounmacon


Trip Down Memory Lane

From a 1960 GAA programme

I love the references to mantles and frocks, two words you never hear nowadays. Would today’s young ladies have any clue what the latest and loveliest nylons were?

Talk about everything from a needle to an anchor, and the shopkeeper only takes a small profit.

Now there’s a puzzler. Where is Pearse Street, Listowel?

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén